Bombers return to Dyess following participation in Red Flag 22-2

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. David Owsianka
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 9th Bomb Squadron and 9th Aircraft Maintenance unit recently participated in Red Flag 22-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and returned home to America’s Lift and Strike Base March 18, 2022.

The exercise is a simulated combat training exercise that gives aircrew members from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and its allies an opportunity to experience advanced, relevant and realistic combat-like situations in a controlled environment to increase their abilities to complete missions and safely return home.

Red Flag 22-2 concentrated on three primary themes including defensive and offensive counter-air techniques, and air interdiction. Each aircrew that participated in the exercise executed various tactics and built dynamic agreements with other aircrews so they can efficiently and safely achieve the overall objectives of each mission.

“Red Flag aims to offer combat aviators the most realistic air war training environment available,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Jenkins, 9th BS commander. “This exercise provided us with the opportunity to fly and train against simulated aggressor forces comprised of both air-to-air and surface-to-air threats providing our young aviators the opportunity to grow and learn in a controlled environment.”

Approximately 1,750 personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Air National Guard trained alongside members from the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Republic of Singapore during the exercise. During the various missions, the participants engaged in various scenarios where they were exposed to realistic, representative and integrated tactical experience.

As the 9th BS personnel trained alongside their fellow aircrew, the Airmen focused on internal training as well. The squadron ensured three members received upgrade training to become mission commanders, where they are responsible for planning, execution and debriefing of an entire airborne mission with as many as 30 joint and coalition aircraft.

“As a mission commander, we have to facilitate and enable the team leads from each specialty to develop a game plan to achieve each mission’s objectives,” said Capt. Erika Tucker, 9th BS Red Flag mission commander. “It also helped us learn how to protect the defended asset list, strike pre-planned air tasking order targets, conduct personnel recovery, and strike dynamic and time-sensitive targets.”

Members of the 9th BS also completed 17 sorties and four strike package commander upgrades with their team of 29 aircrews and 74 maintenance personnel supporting three B-1B Lancers during the exercise.

Red Flag started in the late 1970’s after the Vietnam War to provide a realistic combat experience. It also aims to offer combat aviators the most realistic air war training environment available.

“This was a great exercise for members of the squadron as we gained a solid boost in experience and readiness,” Jenkins said. “These sorties are invaluable to our aircrew as this experience makes our force more lethal and capable.”